The Expectations of Others

We are people, each of us is different and unique. For this reason, we assume certain behaviors, we have a certain personality and a unique way of being, which demonstrates who we are.

So it happens even that we are inclined to judge others easily, and others to judge us. Just as, looking at our uniqueness, we build some expectations in the behavior of others. Certainly, tastes will not be the same for each of us, we do not act as another would act in our place and, probably, the effect that things have on each one is different from that of the others.

Judging others is all too simple, and it’s hard not to fall into this trap. The multiplicity of people we meet is as vast as the damage we can cause by talking about them without knowing them well or when we think we know them but don’t really listen to them.

Instead, there is a story behind each person that others do not know. Those who have not followed our path cannot afford to judge us.

For this reason, a healthy relationship must be based on respect and tolerance, even when it is a simply cordial relationship. We should therefore share our lives with the people we like as they really are, never judge them as they are, nor want them to change just to match our expectations.

Knowing all of this could help us be aware that judging someone is not understanding why a person is a certain way. We do not know what that person went through, what made him become like this, nor how much it can hurt that we criticize him. All this also makes us understand why the judgment of others weighs on our soul more than a boulder and imprisons us in an emotional cage from which it is often difficult to free ourselves.

Pleasing others, desiring the approval of others, after all, is something we all unconsciously want, ever since we were children. We like people to talk positively about us, care about us and accept us. But living constantly conditioned by the expectations of others, of society, and not safeguarding our uniqueness also imposes a sacrifice on us, very often! It forces us to live with a mask. Because it is perhaps in the opinion of others that we want to see at all costs the reflection of a part of us, perhaps the one we have idealized, even if it does not belong to us. But meanwhile the expectations of the world that surround us oppress us, to the point of crushing us.

Instead, if we are able NOT to recognize ourselves in the expectations of others we are on the right path.

Thankfully, there always comes a time in life when that reflection fades, even brutally. People start judging us, criticizing us, and not recognizing us, just because they expected something from us that doesn’t really belong to us.

That is the moment that indicates that we are on the right path.

Because we are following our heart and our dreams, because we have finally chosen to live by our own rules, and not following those that someone else has decided for us. And perhaps this frightens us, transforms us into disoriented individuals who walk along an unknown path, but also makes us feel alive, as perhaps we have never been before.

This happens because we finally stop letting ourselves be guided by the expectations of the outside world and that (often unconsciously or due to education received, excess of respect, or worse, out of fear) we have inevitably made our own, with the excuse that this is how we must live, getting stuck in a role, in rigid and frustrating behaviors and habits, without even understanding why.

Instead,  it is at the very moment in which people no longer recognize us that we can rediscover ourselves, our deepest and most authentic identity. And patience if someone tells us that we are not good, perfect, impeccable, only because we no longer match their expectations: only what we feel inside counts. In other words, we are “special”: we are so for our personal way of seeing the world and living it.

Constructive and courteous criticism is always welcome.

But we cannot always respond to the expectations of others, we are who count, with our dreams and desires. Even if imperfect, even if light years away from what others expected. The more we become “unknown” in the eyes of others, the more we have the opportunity to rediscover the many faces that belong to us, the real and authentic ones, which characterize us in an imperfectly unique way.

Only thanks to a strong empathic ability can we identify with others and understand their emotions, feelings, and fears that lead them to act in one way rather than another. It takes courage to put yourself in others’ shoes because it hurts, it leads to the realization that we are often unfair to those who just need support.

Each person lives the world, events, life, in his own way, arranging everything according to what he has inside himself, based on what he is living, experiencing, undergoing. Nobody lives the exact same experience, feels the same sensations, the same pain, the same pleasure, the same fears.

After all, no one can be as ruthless as our conscience. And it is to it that we are bound to respond.


Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo is a lawyer and teacher of law & Economic Sciences, "lent" to the finance world. He has worked, in fact, 35 years long for a multinational company of financial service in the auto sector, where he held various roles, until that of CEO. In the corporate field, he has acquired skills and held positions as Credit Manager, Human Resource Manager, Team leader for projects of Acquisition & Merger, branch opening, company restructuring, outplacement, legal compliance, analysis and innovation of organizational processes, business partnerships, relations with Trade Unions and Financial Control Institutions. After leaving the company, he continued as an external member of the Board of Directors e, at the same time, he has gone back practicing law and was a management consultant for various companies. He has been also a columnist for newspapers specializing in labor law, automotive services and work organization. His interests include human behavior in the organizational environment, to the neuroscience, the impact of new technologies, the fate of the planet and people facing poverty or war scenarios. He loves traveling, reading, is passionate about many sports, follows the NBA and practices tennis.

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  1. Thanks to you for following me with such continuity and, above all, for adding substance to my post.
    It is true, disappointment, frustration, intolerance, insecurity, bitterness, are all children of expectations and their failure to fulfill. Whether they are directed towards us or towards others, expectations can strongly affect daily life and generate non-functional emotions.
    We all have expectations, some are real, some are exaggerated. Uploading people and situations with an exaggerated expectation becomes harmful if it is persistent. It could result in frustration, in the loss of self-confidence and worse still affect the people around us.

  2. Your post is so well constructed Aldo. You are right as we tend to have our expectations of others they too have our expectation of us.

    Expectations are normal and shall stay with us. However, on what basis we base our expectations is the big issue. Judging with little information is bad.
    The problem is that some people surrender to the expectations of others, If they fail to meet their expectations they feel ashamed.

    The seeds of expectations may initiate inside us and make expectations for ourselves without sound information and mostly based on assumptions. The complexity of human behavior may result in a drop of water (a tear) ending in a flood of negative emotions. Unmet surprises make us feel sad. The greater the disparity between expectations and reality, the greater sadness is. Out of sadness could come our better understanding of ourselves. It is the star in the midnight of sadness. Or, it could lead us to blaming self, others or both. If angry with self it could escalate into depression and if with others then anger and willingness to revenge could be few of the undesirable results.

    Expectations have greater consequences than we may initially think.

    Thank you Aldo again for sharing your thoughts on this important topic